The holiday break sounds like a magical time with fewer commitments, lazy days cozying up with hot cocoa, and quality, quiet time with family. But in reality, cabin fever sets in and kids complain there’s nothing to do. Even worse, they are glued to their screens all day long and never get off the couch. Most parents agree that kids are happier when they are active, but with so many indoor activity centers closed it can be challenging to find engaging activities that are fun, safe, and don’t require expensive equipment.
To help parents, youth sports and learning experts at Skyhawks Sports Academy and STEM Sports® recommend five fun activities to get children active during the holiday break. They’re easy to learn and use objects found in most households. Bonus – there may or may not be a STEM-learning hidden in these activities, so it’s a win-win.
Farthest Football Throw: We all know a key skill for a quarterback is to throw the football accurately and for distance, but even the pros fall short or overthrow the ball. So, grab a football and a measuring tape and start a fun competition to see which family member can throw the ball the farthest. Have each person try it 3 times and record the results. This activity will also teach your children math skills as they calculate the distance between the farthest and the shortest throws.
Glove Grip Test: Notice how many football players wear gloves during the game? It’s not because they’re cold, it’s because the gloves give them a better grip while catching and passing the ball. To test it out, gather different types of gloves you may find around the house – sports gloves, boxing gloves, leather gloves, mittens, dish cleaning gloves, or even disposable gloves. Try passing the football and catching it from different distances and with different gloves to notice the difference in grip and accuracy when throwing and catching.
Basketball Tower Challenge: Make your child an engineer for the day by making basketball towers. All you need are a few easy-to-find materials: newspaper, masking tape, and a basketball. The goal is to roll up several sections of newspaper tightly to create poles for a scaffolding that will be strong enough to hold the basketball without tipping over. This will teach children problem-solving skills and critical thinking. In addition, it emphasizes the use of soft skills such as teamwork and how to deal with and recover from failure.
Playing Card Fitness: This is a fun activity with simple exercises that is enjoyable for the whole family and can be played indoors in any size room. All you need are a deck of cards. To play, each participant picks a card, and depending on the suit and value on the card, everyone completes the exercise. Every suit represents a different exercise like hearts = pushups, diamonds = jumping jacks, clubs = sit-ups, and spades = squats; and the value on the card represents the rep count like number 2 – 9 = 2 to 9 reps, face card = 11 reps and ace = 12 reps. To make it more fun and a little competitive, see who can complete all the rounds first to decide a winner or add up all the reps to see who did the most.
Fireworks in a Jar: This is a great project for younger children. Take a clear glass and fill it with equal parts of oil and water. The oil floats to the top because it is less dense than water. Then add a drop of food coloring and watch as the drop sinks through the oil and bursts once it hits the water. This demonstrates that food coloring is denser than oil because it sinks. Experiment with different amounts of water, oil, and food coloring, and encourage questions – you can always Google the answers!
About Skyhawks Sports Academy
Skyhawks Sports Academy is a youth sports camp organization based in Spokane, Washington. Skyhawks was founded in Spokane in 1979 as a soccer program for children to learn sports in a fun, safe, and non-competitive environment. Skyhawks currently offers programs in more than 11 different sports including Soccer, Basketball, Flag Football, Baseball, Multi-Sport, Tennis, Mini-Hawk, Lacrosse, Golf, Volleyball, Cheerleading, and Track & Field for children ages 4-14 across North America. The format of our programs includes traditional week-long summer day camps, year-round after-school programs, sports leagues, and clinics. For more information, visit https://www.skyhawks.com.
About STEM Sports®
STEM Sports® provides standards-aligned, turnkey K-8 supplemental curricula that use various sports as the real-life application to teach science, technology, engineering, and math skills in classrooms, after-school programs, and camps. Our double-play combination of physical activity and cognitive thinking provides a comprehensive, inquiry-based educational experience and a solution for crucial STEM literacy for students. As a result, students develop critical thinking, collaboration, creative problem-solving, and leadership skills that can be applied throughout their education and future careers.